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How Old Do You Have to Be?

by Jonathan Young

Someone asked me the other day “when do you stop walking around in front of your kids in your underwear”.  The answer’s simple… “When either you, or they, feel uncomfortable”…. Or when you go outside.

I’ve done a bit of research on legal ages for things in New Zealand, and discovered that there’s a lot of conflicting information on the internet.  There are also many odd laws in New Zealand about what your kids can and can’t do. 

You can’t really do anything until you’re 14.  Oddly enough, the age that you can be left alone at home, is also the age that you’re supposedly responsible enough to look after other kids.  It’s also the age to buy fireworks.  Is that wise? 

Make sure you don’t kill anyone with the fireworks though, because you can be prosecuted for murder or manslaughter at 10. 

At ‘any age’ you can get information about contraception, get contraception, use contraception, and even have an abortion.  However, you can’t have sex until you’re 16. 

I guess there’s also a lot of “I didn’t do that when I was your age” going on.  I grew up with the impression that my mother was some kind of angel.  She was never naughty, never got told off, was never rude, always tidied her room etc. 

It was only when I was a little bit older that I started to wonder if all of these things were true… considering she was pregnant at 16. 

At 17 you can join the Army, Navy or Airforce.   Now obviously you’re not responsible enough to vote for another year, but you can shoot people with guns and tanks.  If you shoot someone and you’re not in the military, you can also be tried as an adult in district court (rather than youth court). 

Alcohol is a funny one.  At ‘any age’ you can be given alcohol by your parent or legal guardian at home, in most pubs, or pretty much anywhere else. 

You can also be served alcohol at a ‘private function’ at someone’s house.  This is sure to be the downfall of more than one 15th birthday party. 

18 is the magic age for most things.  As well as getting drunk in a pub without your mum or dad, getting addicted to cigarettes and voting; you can get a tattoo without anyone else’s consent.  This law needs to be changed!  Before anyone of any age gets a tattoo, they should consult with a psychic. 

I’ve met too many people with tattoos of somebody’s name who they’d rather forget.  You should NEVER get a tattoo of your favourite singer or rock band.  How many grown men can’t go swimming now because they’ve got a Kylie Minogue tattoo? 

We all remember our parents (or grand parents) hugging or kissing us at inappropriate times in front of inappropriate people. 

So at what age do you stop hugging or kissing your kids good-bye?  The answer to this is simple.  You don’t!  It merely changes from an exchange of emotion, to a threat or a punishment.

Legally, you can do pretty much anything at 20 (except adopt a child that isn’t related to you).  In reality, you should be 20 before you’re allowed a car stereo.

Nobody under the age of 25 should be allowed to comment on my jeans.  These people are always wrong.  One will say they’re too flared, one will say they’re too tight; one will say they’re too old fashioned, and another will say I’m too old to wear jeans like that. 

I’m wondering if evolution will eventually move humans hips lower so that they’re pants don’t fall down so often.

For more information on legal ages in New Zealand, check out, but you might also want to google legal ages, because there’s lots of contradictory information out there.


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